There Might Have Been Screams!


#sol20- January 28, 2020

There might have been screams! We finally had the video working. For whatever reason, I could only show it via Facebook, so there was a first-me projecting a Facebook video at school!

We got a few seconds in and then the video froze. There were groans, but a quick refresh got it going again. There were loud cheers, a few groans, but overall such excitement. We were watching the last fifteen minutes of the ALA Youth Media Awards and we were captivated. We read books for our Mock Caldecott and Sibert Smackdown and heard the names of books we loved announced. It was our day to celebrate book love and those kids were all in! What a great way to spend some time on a Tuesday afternoon (and now we have books to add to our book shopping list!). Others could hear the screams of joy down the hall.

A Different Place and Time


#sol20- January 21, 2020

We are just beginning our “Where We Are in Place and Time” unit and focusing on the history of Phnom Penh since independence. The country declared independence from France in 1953. It is a heavy topic, for sure, but so important for our students. Nearly half of my class is Khmer and we are all learning a lot together.

This week we are visiting the Sosoro Museum. the Cambodian Museum of Money and Economy. It all came together by coincidence when we were meeting with the language teachers were talking to us about connections they could make to the unit.

“A friend told me about a money museum,” Solenn said. “I haven’t been there, but it sounded good.”

Once we looked at the website we were convinced enough to book it sight unseen.

My teammate, Anita, made a quick visit on Saturday and gave it good reviews, so Sunday morning, with a friend’s mom in town, I decided it was worth a sneak peek. I decided to limit myself to a one hour (more or less) visit, as that is what the students will have. Now money and economy do not really sound super interesting to me, but this museum really was outstanding. It managed to include relevant bits of Cambodia’s history in twelve “modules” where the story of money throughout time was shared. Timelines were annotated and included some comparisons (like the cost of rice) to help visitors really understand the information. The museum is thoughtfully laid out, has interactive displays in Khmer, English, and French, and even includes some online games at the end. As a souvenir, you can even get “money” printed with your face on it.

I am glad I went ahead of time and know I will go back afterward as well. I love a field trip that really enriches student learning and can’t wait to go with our class on Thursday. This museum really brings history alive. My only complaint is that there is so much information I wanted to take down and no photos are allowed.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning and I am sure the third graders will be excited to return with their parents after their time there. It’s interesting, organized, and air conditioned- a great way to spend some time. An unexpected treat!

I Might Have a Problem!


#sol20- January 14, 2020

I might have a problem (well, actually I have a few, but I know I can share this here). I am overly aspirational. I love the idea of so many things and happily source all the right tools, but do… well, there’s the stumbling block.

Just before the new year I eagerly joined #100daysofnotebooking and I LOVE it- I am back to daily writing and I love getting ideas from the people sharing there (and some of my students are doing it too!). So, of course I was inspired by the beautiful pages and I thought “I can do that too!”-ha! So when I saw a notice about a bullet journaling meet-up I thought “How perfect- I can bullet journal! Sounds fun!” Off I went Saturday morning to the local craft store, and there is where the trouble began.

First, I LOVE notebooks and the owner/organizer was “offering” a kit- a dotted notebook with two pens and a ruler for $15. So, of course because of my weakness in saying no to stationery (in spite of me bringing my current notebook and a fat pencil case stuffed with pens), I chose a kit. I have never done any bullet journaling and some in the group are clearly experts, so I asked them to share their “must have” sections” and vowed to not start my “bullet journal” until I had a more clear plan. So I started my list of pages I wanted to create and sorted them into yearly, monthly, and weekly. But then I was paralyzed, because the thing is, I am not artsy or neat enough to be satisfied with my messy work in something I deemed too special. So mostly I spent time listing and looking at other people’s work. But because we were in an actual craft store I also decided that some more tools would make it all better/easier, so I also bought some great stickers and a set of 24 two-sided markers (brush style and fine point) and played with my new ruler because it has one edge that is scalloped.

But after lunch with a friend who also attended I decided that I needed a few more tools from a wider selection, so off I went to a large stationery store and I bought some different colored Micron pens, a 48 pack of watercolor pencils, and two purple Energel pens. Now, surely I would be able to start my bullet journal!

Well, I have started it and I am really enjoying planning it all, but really, who did I think I was kidding? Mine is never going to be beautiful- I will have to be okay with functional and a bit playful/colorful. Neat and artsy is just not in my wheelhouse (“yet”, I try to tell myself with my growth mindset brain” “ever”, I say with my realistic view of my patience and willingness to devote the time needed to improve that).

So, a beautiful notebook is not what is happening, but I am notebooking daily (in my purple notebook) and beginning to use my bullet journal (it is blue). I realize I want both and I may will actually fill this one, as compared to so many partially filled notebooks of my past. My real problem here is an addiction to buying stationery supplies, but hey, at least everything will get used over time it is not money down the drain, and in the meantime, it is injecting some more play into my life.



One Little Word


#sol20- January 7, 2020

This year’s word choice was actually a collection of wonderful moments. For the first time since I started choosing a word (which I learned was 2013) I actually was a bit methodical. First, I searched back and found out what my previous words were (love, brave, change, joy, brave, challenge, and intention) and on December 13 (our last half-day of school) I started a written list of possibilities. By the end of December, my list had ballooned to more than 30! On the 31st I shared a shortlist with a few friends (and then on Facebook) and I more suggestions (not what I needed, MORE words!?!).

In actually being open-minded I considered them all and added a few to my list- now at 38! I went to sleep on December 31 with it narrowed down to two, leaning towards one. I woke up convinced it should be moxie. It was suggested by a friend, Linnea (actually she sent ‘moxy’), who knows me pretty well. I researched it a bit the day before, so I knew that my friend, Ashley has it as part of her Twitter handle (and she is someone I really admire). Turns out Michelle had it as previous OLW and she is a great mentor too!

I like that it means force of character, determination, or nerve. It is also a regionalism (New England) for chutzpah and can mean gumption, brashness, or just plain pluck. Vigor and pep also come up in definitions. I wanted a word that I can use to help me push myself and this seemed to fit.

I want to show more moxie as I strive to align my actions and beliefs. I want to be a positive model of a lifelong learner and will push myself to learn new things (bullet journal workshop already signed up for as a start). I also signed up for the #100daysofnotebooking (thanks, @mhaseltine) and that is already pushing me to try out new things (and get back to writing regularly). I avoid confrontation but hope that my focus on moxie will encourage me to stand up when I should. Much to my mother’s horror, I am a rule follower, but I am trying to make sure this does not mean I compromise strong beliefs. Living alone, I tend to be a hermit in my free time- so I will use moxie as my reason to get out and about more. I feel like it is an extension of my word from last year- with a sprinkling of joy.

Here’s to a new year and new challenges!

PS If you have not joined #100daysofnotebooking it is not too late- look for it on Facebook, Twitter, or on Michelle’s blog. It is a super fun (and growing) group full of inspiration!